Month: March 2015

A Few Lessons From the Spin Bike

I took a spin claIMG_6778ss once…and hated every last second of it. Let me make sure I’m clear: I.HATED.IT. I couldn’t get off the bike and out of class fast enough and then I precisely wrote the whole thing off. I was bored out of my mind for 45 minutes that day, and my hiney hurt so bad for an entire week, I wasn’t sure I would ever walk straight again. I could be convinced to do almost any other form of exercise, but not that.

Fast-forward a good nine years. “I think you should try it,” my friend, Linda, said to me, referring to a spin class she takes not once, but twice, a week. As I started to protest, it became clear that she wasn’t interested in my excuses. Next thing I knew, I was slipping my feet into the foot straps and pedaling away.

I now find myself on that bike every week…not once, but twice. And for those of you who love a good list, here are a few lessons I’ve learned from the spin bike.

  1. You don’t have love everything you do, and yet, it’s still good for you to do those things often. Spinning is not my favorite form of exercise. I don’t hate it, my hiney doesn’t get sore anymore and there are some classes and intervals that I enjoy. But I don’t love it. And that’s okay. It’s still a great form of exercise. It’s still good for me to vary my workouts, it’s good for me to be challenged in different ways.
    What is it for you? Eating vegetables? You laugh. This one doesn’t always come easy…especially to my four year old. Being active? How about spending quiet time with God and doing more listening than talking? Taking a spin class?

    You don’t have to love it, but it may be good for you to do it anyway.

  1. Rest is critical.
    I hate this one almost as much as I hated that first spin class nine years ago. However, regardless of my love or hate of it: Rest is critical.It’s not possible (for me, anyway) to make it through the entire class if I don’t rest well during the active recoveries between each interval. Sometimes the breaks are longer, some are shorter, but each is necessary to prepare for the next challenge. And without that rest, when it’s time to work, I become sloppy, exhausted and off my game.When I’m spinning, I’m desperate for the rests. But in life, man I try to blow right through them.In life, I’m not a good rester. I’d much rather be the event planner than the event attendee. I’m a Type-A, hard-working Martha, not a natural Mary. I like to be busy, I like a project and I love to plan my work and work my plan. Ask me to move across the country and start a new chapter of life, essentially from scratch? Sure. Ask me to be still and rest? Ugh. So hard.However, I must refer myself to point numero uno. In life, just like on that spin bike, and something I must do even if I don’t love it.
  1. Sometimes we have to fight for the finish line.
    While the entire class is 45-minutes long, it takes 40-minutes of warm-up and workout all to get ready for the last 5. The last five minutes, for me, are an indicator of how well I’ve prepared, how well I’ve trained both physically and mentally, and how well I rested during the last forty.The last five minutes are where it counts. It’s when I’m mentally ready to be done. It’s where I’m physically fatigued and where the only way to the finish line is through sheer determination.Whether it’s a conversation at the end of the day, or a request…for the thirteenth time…from my four year-old, or the paper that I need to finish or a project that needs to get turned it, sometimes I have to fight for the finish line. And sometimes, I have to dig deep through lots of uncomfortable emotion and exhaustion to finish strong.Strong finishes feel so good. It’s where we grow, I think. If you have a finish line on the horizon, dig deep and finish strong.
  2. It’s good to get out of our comfort zones.
    One of the reasons I didn’t like that first class was because it IMG_6179was all-around uncomfortable. Spinning made me breathe differently, it fatigued me differently, it made my legs burn…bad. And I wasn’t sure half the time if I was even doing it right.But it’s so good for us to be out of comfort zones. For me, it’s where growth happens. Where I break through the barriers, ceilings and limitations that I put on myself. It’s often where I prove myself wrong. It’s when I’m at the place that Jesus likes me to be – feeling like a fish out of water and fully dependent upon Him.If you haven’t done so lately, step out. Do something that scares you. Let yourself be made uncomfortable. Perhaps you’ll meet a part of you that you’ve met yet. Perhaps God has something in mind for you to learn.

So, while I haven’t had a spinning epiphany and I won’t claim to love it, truth is, I’ve learned a lot on that stinkin’ spin bike over the last three months. Maybe they’ve been helpful for you.

Whatever hills or valleys you’re facing on your trail, stay on your bike and keep peddling, my friends.


A letter to my daughter…and all the daughters

IMG_4187My heart has been stirred lately for the daughters of this world.

It has taken me the majority of my life to understand my own worth. I so desperately don’t want that to be the story of my own daughter…or any daughter. So, in the process of raising my own little girl to know who she is and know what she’s worth, and because what is true for her is true for you and me and all the daughters, I offer this letter:

To my dearest daughter…and all the daughters,

Beautiful girl, you are such a prize. When I look at you, my heart hurts with love from a place that I never knew was in me until the day you were born. And just when I feel like I can’t possibly love you any more, your giggle, that glimmer in your eye, or your gentle hands squeezing my neck prove that, indeed, I can and do love you more each day.

Dearest daughter, I am so proud of you. I’ve been so proud of you since I met you. You didn’t even “do” anything…well, except make me realize that I can function on a lotttt less sleep (and a lot more coffee) than I once did. You just were.

This tiny little baby who just ate and slept and (pooed) and cooed with bright eyes and a bright future is now growing into a little girl. I love your spunky little personality and watching you soak up friendships and being with people as much as I do. I love watching you set your innocent mind to something and then beam with pride when you accomplish it.

As you continue to grow, you’ll realize that there are so many good, happy and joyous moments in life. I look forward to being a part of as many of those as possible with you. You’ll also learn that life has its share of difficult, tough and sad moments. Honey, I hope I’m there with you for as many of those, too. Soup when you’re sick. A shoulder to cry on when your heart is hurting. A hug when you’re scared.

Through both the ups and downs, I want you to know and remember one thing: You.are.worthy. When you mess up, you are worthy. When you do the thing you didn’t want to do, you are worthy. When you have ascended the climb and are celebrating your heart out, you are worthy. There isn’t anything that can add or subtract from your worth. Ever.

You’re enough because you are and you deserve respect because you are. You are not an object and you should not be treated as one. Sometimes you’ll need to stand up for yourself and what you believe. Remember, that there is a way to do that in love. Seek first to understand. Realize that there can be more than one “right” way to do something. When it comes to goals and dreams or boys and falling in love, set high standards. Don’t compromise. And keep your mind and heart open to the lessons life teaches you along the way – they are plenty, my dear.

You have something to offer this world that is your unique gift given to you by a most loving Father who created you with an intentional plan. And so, as you make your way through life, my prayer for you is that you would discover who you are: A daughter of the most-high, most-loving God, who is worthy to love and be loved, who is brave enough to live the life has been purposed for you to live.

I love you today and always.


A Magical Victory: What Happens When We Keep Our Eye on the Prize

Magi Head with M BannerMy love of hockey started in junior high as my locker was next to two of my closest high school friends who happened to be two of our school’s biggest hockey fans and accomplished hockey players. Between classes, John and Brian were constantly talking about the Bruins and the Mapleleafs and NHL stats. They were inspired by Wayne Gretzky and Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy and Paul Coffey, and both had dreams of how their hockey careers would play out.

In high school, they, along with our entire school had our eye on one prize: the coveted ND State High School Hockey Championship. It had been won by our Magicians in 1992, and we were all eager to bring it home.

For four years, we went to State year after year, and came home empty handed every time. We never brought that trophy home, as hard as the teams tried.

But John Grubb had his eye on that prize. So, while the story ended there for many, it didn’t end there for John.

Fast-forward 17 years. The scenario hadn’t changed: Still, the last time the trophy had been won was 1992, as the Minot High Magicians were headed back to State. However, this time, the team was led by two first-year head coaches, one by the name of John Grubb.

With a team that had been held to high expectations all year, led by a skilled forward and a goalie that would give the NHL a run for its money, the Magi won their first two tournament games, earning them a place in the championship game and a shot at the coveted championship victory.

On February 28, in front of packed house and fans watching across the country, John Grubb led his team to the prize he had been eying for a lonnnng time. In a nail-biting game that ended in a 2-1 victory, the mighty, mighty Magi finally got the win that we’d all been waiting for.

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John pressed on, he kept his eye on a prize and eventually, he celebrated a victory. I couldn’t have been more proud of that team or my friend, who was named coach of the year that night.

As I celebrated in pure old-lady style wearing sweats and drinking hot tea in my living room, I realized something. Sometimes the prize we have our eye on doesn’t come packaged like we were expecting. Sometimes it doesn’t come in the time frame we’d like, and sometimes it feels like we may have even missed the boat all-together.

But the prizes do come.

In Hebrews 12, the Bible says, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” If we do that, I believe the rewards will be abundant.

John celebrated victory and his hard work paid off, but the prize looked so different than what he initially had in mind. I bet if we asked him, leading an entire team to that win was better than winning it as a player himself.

Often, that’s what happens, the prizes might look different…but always, they are better.

So whatever the prize, whatever dream you’re wishing will come true, whatever hope you have in your heart, don’t give up on it. There is a God of the universe who is working out all things for your good. And remember, as Garth so wisely notes, sometimes we can thank God for unanswered prayers. I think sometimes, they too, are prizes.

The prizes will come, they just might be in a different package than what you had in mind. My prayer is that you’ll be open to recognizing them as such when they do.